Million pound brides: Inside the extravagant London weddings of the super-rich Nigerian couples who spend £150,000 on bubbly, £100,000 on a dress and £6,000 on favours
- London is a wedding destination of choice for wealthy Nigerians, with brides competing for most expensive do
- Bespoke designer gowns can cost £100,000 and up to 3,000 people will attend the big day
- Each guest that attends will get a bottle of Champagne and a gift bag worth £6,000
Every bride wants to look a million dollars when they tie the knot – and affluent women from Nigeria are spending just that to achieve it on their big days.
According to a London-based wedding planner, super-rich couples from the West African country can easily blow a small fortune on their nuptials, from spending £100,000 on a designer wedding dress to £150,000 on alcohol.
In-demand event maestro CEO and founder of Prive Luxury Events Elizabeth Aisien says London has become the destination of choice for Africa’s wealthy elite when they tie the knot.
A traditional Nigerian wedding held at The Dorchester pictured in Channel 5 documentary Eamonn & Ruth: How The Other Half Lives
Ruth Langsford meets Elizabeth Aisien, centre, who says it isn’t unusual for wealthy Nigerians to spend £1m on their wedding day
‘It is not unusual to spend a million. One of the weddings I planned spent £50,000 just on flowers,’ she reveals on Channel 5 show Eamonn & Ruth: How The Other Half Lives.
‘It’s a competition, people want something like “wow, she arrived by plane”. The bride wants to look good and wear the best of everything.’
As a result, she said brides will pay around £100,000 for a bespoke dress by a designer like Vera Wang and £475,000 on diamond jewellery.
She added that it is not just the bride who will push the boat out on the gems they wear to accessorise an expensive outfit.
‘The other women want to make a statement, “I wore this diamond, my diamond is bigger than yours”,’ Elizabeth explained.
A model tries on a Vera Wang wedding gown worth £100,000, such dresses are in demand with Nigerian brides
Ruth visits a Vera Wang shop with wedding planner Elizabeth Aisien, far left. While there, a jeweller, second from left, brings diamond earrings, pictured front right, for Elizabeth to chose on behalf of her rich client
The luxurious Dorchester hotel is a popular wedding venue for effulgent Nigerian couples
A room at the Dorchester decked out for a Nigerian wedding where thousands of guests are invited
The Landmark Hotel in London is another popular wedding venue for uber-rich couples
She added that the venues of choice for weddings and receptions are up-market London hotels including The Dorcester, The Landmark Hotel and Claridges.
She added: ‘Kensington Palace is another favourite for Nigerians now.’
According to the Historic Royal Palaces, prices for weddings at the Palace start from £12,500 exclusive of catering and VAT.
Elizabeth said after forking out to look her best, a bride will then spend a fortune wining and dining her guests – all three thousand of them.
She explained: ‘They will spend the most money on Champagne as you have two to three thousand guests at a traditional Nigerian wedding and they will get a bottle of Champagne each.’
Thousands are spent on Nigerians weddings, like the one pictured on the Channel 5 documentary
A bride is pictured walking up the aisle on the show, as wedding planner Elizabeth reveals it’s all about making a statement of wealth
Five bridesmaids accompanied one Nigerian bride showing how no expense is spared
This means at an average Nigerian wedding, £150,000 will be spent on booze.
And it’s not just food and drink lavished on the guests. While at British weddings, attendees may get a token favour like a chocolate, at affluent Nigerian weddings, they will get a gift bag worth thousands.
Such a bag might contain a £345 perfume, a cashmere scarf worth £350 and a £5,000 watch.
With such luxuries being given out at weddings, it is perhaps no surprise that according to Tatler, every third pound currently spent in Harrods is by a Nigerian.
Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy as the Niger Delta region in the south holds some of the world’s richest oil reserves. A recent world wealth study found the number of millionaires in Nigeria has risen about 305 percent since 2000.
Many of affluent Nigerians are moving to London – helping the city become home to the most billionaires than any other city in the world.
Eamonn Holmes meets Russian billionaire Emin Agalarov
Presenters Ruth Langsford and her husband Eamonn were tasked with investigated this uber-rich lifestyle for the Channel 5 show.
While Ruth went wedding shopping in designer stores with Elizabeth on behalf of her affluent clients, Eamonn was flown to meet Russian billionaire Emin Agalarov in Moscow via his private jet.
Eamonn experiences the super-extravagant lifestyle of an oligarch getting a tour of his $20m home, riding in his supercar and attending the extravagant parties he hosts.
But he learns it doesn’t always buy happiness as Emin explains how he has to travel everywhere with security guards as those as rich as him are constantly in fear of being kidnapped and being held to ransom. Those with children are particularly at risk of having their offspring snatched.
Despite not being hard-up themselves, the celebrity couple admitted gaining an insight into the world of the super rich was like nothing they had ever seen before.
Ruth said: ‘Getting into the world of the super rich in London has been a revelation to me. It reminds me of Harry Potter, there is the wizard world and the muggles – and that is what it it like, the international super rich and us.’
Eamonn & Ruth: How The Other Half Lives, starts Tuesday 27th October, 9pm, Channel 5